By Brandon Timko/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men rebounded from a disappointing performance on the weekend to earn a well-deserved 2-2 draw versus Fraser Valley Action at Simon Fraser University on Tuesday evening.
Two second-half strikes by Harry Lakhan earned the Whitecaps their second draw of the Pacific Coast Soccer League season, while Brayden Volkenant and Gianni Tsouhoulas found the scoresheet for the visitors. Volkenant is the brother of Prospects defender Rhys Volkenant, who will join him on the Trinity Western University men’s team next season.
The Prospects were eager to redeem themselves after their last match against Victoria United and came out strong to open the match. Ashley Ankiewicz sent a header off the far post on 20 minutes and Lucas Barrett nodded the ball just wide of goal four minutes later.
Bart Choufour's side would be given another opportunity on 37 minutes when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Jordan Whitehead sent a low shot that eluded the wall, but could not beat Action goalkeeper Rob Wright.
Fraser Valley, coached by former Whitecaps women's team coach Pat Rohla, would open the scoring against the run of play. A miscommunication at the back forced Whitecaps goalkeeper Simon Thomas, who was on loan from the Residency squad, to make a diving save on 45 minutes after the ball was deflected towards him by one of his own players. The rebound, however, would land in front of three Fraser Valley Action players in front of goal, with Brayden Volkenant finishing for the visitors to give them a 1-0 lead.
The 'Caps did not hang their heads and continued their strong play in the second half. Gavin Barrett got on the end of a cross two minutes after the restart, only to see his header carom off the corner of the crossbar.
Lakhan would try his luck with a 30-yard blast four minutes later. The shot was bobbled by Andrew Fink, a halftime substitute in goal for Fraser Valley, before bouncing off the post. Lucas Barrett would fire the rebound on target, but Fink did well to get in front of the ball and maintain the visitors' lead.
The Action would threaten on 59 minutes when Gianni Tsouhoulas made a darting run down the right flank before passing the ball into the path of Chris Trautier. His shot would roll perilously towards goal before being cleared by Paul Bahia.
Fraser Valley would double their lead on 65 minutes when Trautier returned the favour to Tsouhoulas, sending him alone on goal. The striker would make no mistake, firing a low shot past Thomas to put Rohla’s squad up 2-0.
The Prospects refused to give up and would be inspired by a moment of brilliance from Lakhan on 69 minutes. The midfielder lined up for a free kick 25 yards out and struck a wicked set-piece off the left post and into the back of the net to get the young 'Caps back within a goal.
The Whitecaps would equalize with seven minutes remaining after Lakhan fired another terrific strike into the far corner from just inside the Fraser Valley box to level the match at 2-2.
Lakhan may have been the hero, but his efforts would have been in vain, if not for a pair of late saves from Thomas. The Residency keeper would deny Trautier inside the Whitecaps box on 86 minutes before thwarting a hard free kick from substitute Mustafa Demirci two minutes later to preserve the draw.
Choufour was clearly pleased with the way his team responded after their last match on Saturday. "I was very happy with the work rate," Choufour told whitecapsfc.com. "We played much better than we did on Saturday."
The Prospects Men will travel to the British Columbia Interior for their next Pacific Coast Soccer League Premier Division match-ups. On Saturday, June 27, they face Kamloops Excel before meeting Okanagan Challenge on Sunday, June 28.
Whitecaps Prospects Men
Simon Thomas; Erik Hacker, Rhys Volkenant, Kyle Knees, Jordan Whitehead (Jerome Lou 72’), Paul Bahia, Harry Lakhan, Riley Newport (Adam Staschuk 66’), Ashley Ankiewicz (Ruben Casablanca 57’), Gavin Barrett, Lucas Barrett
Fraser Valley Action
Rob Wright (Andrew Fink 45’); Craig Rohla, Brayden Volkenant, Lee Ellis, Chris Trautier, Sean Laidlaw (David Featonby 45’), Jake Jorgenson, Jason Jorgenson (Mustafa Demirci 67’), Josh McCaig, Gianni Tsouhoulas (James Farenhorst 77’), Nathan Square-Briggs (Dan Lowen 45’)